Council discusses City Manager applications

By Frank Lewis

August 27, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

After retiring Monday evening to consider candidates for the position of city manager, Portsmouth City Council refused to release the names of any finalists being considered. In an evening in which a large discussion centered around the issue of allowing the public to be informed on legislation, Council went behind closed doors, came out, and adjourned, with no mention of what had or had not been accomplished during the closed meeting.

“I’m not at liberty to give names at this time,” Portsmouth City Council President Steve Sturgill said. “I will communicate with Catherine Parrish of Novak Consulting. We have several folks on our radar.”

Last week the Daily Times published a list of 57 names, three of which were local residents. Portsmouth Mayor David Malone had announced early on in the process that he had intended to, and did, apply. The biggest surprise on the list came when it was evident that current Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware had applied for the position, again, taking the same stance as Malone, that the job needs the oversight of someone familiar with the community and its current problems. Portsmouth is currently nursing a deficit budget and the Fiscal Watch status handed down by the Auditor of State’s office.

Another local resident who has thrown his hat in the ring was long-time educator Jerry Skiver, who had most recently been an interim superintendent for St. Mary’s City Schools.

In a classified advertisement on the Ohio Municipal League website, the city lists a hiring salary range of $90,000 to $120,000 per year depending on qualifications. The ad says requirements include a bachelor’s degree in public administration or related field and 10 years of local government experience with at least five years in progressively responsible management/supervisory positions. A master’s degree and ICMA-Credentialed Manager certification are preferred.

The final sentence ensures that the citizens will be able to follow the hiring process, application by application.

“All application materials are subject to disclosure under Ohio’s public records laws.”

The job must be filled by Jan. 1, 2014 when the new City Council/City Manager form of government kicks in. Voters decided by a final count of 2,208 to 2,138, a margin of 50.81 percent to 49.19 percent to change from a Strong Mayor form of government to the City Council/City Manager form.

Over the next several weeks, Council is expected to conduct interviews with the finalists in order to select the city’s first leader in the new city manager era.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT